Takahata is the co-founder of Studio Ghibli along with long-time collaborative partner Hayao Miyazaki. Unlike most anime directors, Takahata does not draw and never worked as an animator before becoming a full-fledged director.
His impressive filmography showcases a varied palate of style and stories, but is notably influenced by Italian neorealism, Jacques Prévert, and French New Wave films during the 1960s. Bicycle Thieves has been cited as specifically influencing 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother. These influences make Takahata’s work different from most animation, which focus on fantasy. His films, by contrast, are realistic with expressionistic overtones.
Neo-realism’s influence on his film is evident in the amount of attention to detail he takes in displaying everyday mundane events. But this realistic thread is counterbalanced by expressionistic influences in Takahata’s work and his films are usually marked by scenes where a character’s imagination comes to life on screen.
This unique depiction of human imagination in action provides much of the richness of his work, and the unique place his style has come to take in Japanese anime.
1963-65: Ken the Wolf Boy (Ōkamishōnen Ken) – adviser, director of several episodes and storyboard
1965: Hustle Punch (Hassuru Panchi) – director of opening theme
1969-70: Secret Little Akko (Himitsu no Akko-chan) – assistant director
1968-69: Kitarō of GeGeGe (GeGeGe no Kitaro) – storyboard / director（episode 62)
1969-70: A-tarō the Workaholic (Mōretsu Atarō) – storyboard / director (episode 10,14,36,44,51,59,71,77,90), director of opening theme (episode 70-90)
1971-72: GeGeGe no Kitaro (the second series) / ゲゲゲの鬼太郎 (Gegege no Kitarō)storyboard / director (episode 5), director of opening and ending theme
1971-72 アパッチ野球軍 (Apatchi Yakyūgun) / Apache Baseball Team – storyboard / director (episode 2,12,17)
1971 長靴下のピッピ 世界一強い女の子 (Nagakutsushita no Pippi/sekai-ichi tsuyoi on-na-no-ko) / Pippi Longstocking, the Strongest Girl in the World（temporary title）chief director (a plan), however, since acquisition of the right to make anime went wrong, this project shifted to the movie “Panda! Go, Panda!”.
1971 Lupin III (ルパン三世, Rupan Sansei)Director jointly with Hayao Miyazaki
1972-73 赤胴鈴之助 (Akadō Suzunosuke) / Red-cuirass Suzu-no-suke – acting chief director
1973-74 荒野の少年イサム (Kouya no Shounen Isamu) / Isamu, Boy in the wilderness – Storyboard (episode 15,18), Director (episode 15)
1974 Heidi, Girl of the Alps / (アルプスの少女ハイジ, Arupusu no Shōjo Haiji) – Chief director / Storyboard (episode 1-3)
1975 Dog of Flanders / (フランダースの犬, Furandaasu no Inu) -Storyboard (episode 15)
1976 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother / (母をたずねて三千里, Haha wo Tazunete Sanzen-ri)- Chief director, storyboard (episode 1,2,4,5,7)
1977 アルプスの音楽少女 ネッティのふしぎな物語, Arupusu no Ongaku Shoujo Netti no Fushigi na Monogatari) / The Wonderful Story of Nettie, Musical Girl of the Alps. TV Special; storyboard and director, animated sequences only
1977 Monarch: The Big Bear of Tallac (シートン動物記 くまの子ジャッキー, Shiiton Doubutsuki Kuma no Ko Jakkii) / Seton Animal Chronicles: Jacky the Bear Cub – Storyboard (episode 5,8)
1978 ペリーヌ物語, Perrine Monogatari (Periinu Monogatari) / Perrine Story – Storyboard (episode 3,6)
1978 Future Boy Conan (未来少年コナン, Mirai Shōnen Konan)- Storyboard (episode 7,13,20) / storyboard and director (episode 9, 10 with Hayao Miyazaki)
1979 Anne of Green Gables, (赤毛のアン, Akage no An) / Anne of red hair – Chief director, scriptwriter (episode 1-4,6,8,10,12,13,17,18,20,23,25-44,47-50/ 36 in total), storyboard (episode 1-4,29)
1981-83 じゃりん子チエ (Jarinko Chie) (Chie the Brat) – Chief director, storyboard and director (episode 2･6･11 stories,「武元哲」- Original bill for composition of opening theme
1961 The Littlest Warrior (安寿と厨子王丸, Anju to Zushiōmaru）/ Anju and Zushiōmaru, the original is “山椒大夫 Sansho Dayu” of Ougai Mori (森鴎外).- Assistant director
1962 たのしい文明史 鉄ものがたり (Tanoshii Bunmeishi Tetsu Monogatari) – Assistant director, script supervisor
1963 The Little Prince and the Eight-Headed Dragon (わんぱく王子の大蛇退治, Wanpaku Ōji no Orochi Taiji) – Assistant director
1963 暗黒街最大の決闘 (Ankokugai Saidai no Kettō) / The Biggest Duel in the Underworld – Assistant director, film director is Umetsugu Inoue (井上梅次)
1964/65 狼少年ケン (okami-shonen Ken) / Ken, the wolf-boy – Television series works （episode 14 and episode 72） were released the theater.
1968 Hols: Prince of the Sun (太陽の王子 ホルスの大冒険, Taiyō no Ōji – Horusu no Daibouken) / The great adventure of Hols: Prince of the Sun – Chief director
1972 Panda! Go, Panda! (パンダ・コパンダ, Panda Kopanda) / Panda and child panda – Chief director
1973 Panda! Go, Panda! The Rainy-Day Circus (パンダ・コパンダ 雨降りサーカスの巻, – Chief director
1980 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother / (母をたずねて三千里, Haha wo Tazunete Sanzen-ri)- Edited the TV series again for a movie. original run: July 19, 1980 – Supervisor
1981 じゃりン子チエ (Jarinko Chie) / Chie the Brat – Chief director / scriptwriter (with 城山昇, Noboru Shiroyama)
1982 Gauche the Cellist (セロ弾きのゴーシュ Sero-hiki no Gōshu) – Chief director, Scriptwriter
1983 Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland / (NEMO/ニモ, Nimo)- Japan side Director
1984 Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (風の谷のナウシカ, Kaze no Tani no Naushika)- Producer
1986 Castle in the Sky (天空の城ラピュタ, Tenkū no Shiro Rapyuta) / Laputa: Castle in the Sky- Producer
1987 柳川堀割物語 (Yanagawa Horiwari Monogatari) / The Story of Yanagawa’s Canals – Chief director, scriptwriter, documentary film of culture
1988 Grave of the Fireflies (火垂るの墓, Hotaru no Haka)- Chief director, Scriptwriter
1989 Kiki’s Delivery Service (魔女の宅急便, Majo no Takkyuubin) / Witch’s Delivery Service – Music direction
1990 赤毛のアン－グリーンゲイブルズへの道－ (Akage no An – Guriin Geiburuzu eno Michi -) / Anne of red hair, Road to Green Gables – Edited the TV series again for a movie. original run: September, 1990. – Direction / editing
1991 Only Yesterday (おもひでぽろぽろ, Omohide Poro Poro) / Memory like rain (in drops)- Chief director, scriptwriter
1999 My Neighbors the Yamadas (ホーホケキョ となりの山田くん, Hōhokekyo Tonari no Yamada-kun)- Chief director, scriptwriter
2003 Winter Days (冬の日, Fuyu no Hi)- Participated in this movie with 35 animation creators from around the world
2013 The Tale of Princess Kaguya (かぐや姫の物語)- Chief director, co-scriptwriter